Raspberryfisher's Blog

notes on fishing & travel

Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category

zingers – buy once?

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Given most of the zingers used in fly fishing are not well built and function poorly, I have bought and used many, too many. I have effectively two major complaints for most zingers:

  • Durability (lack of)
  • Length of cable extension (too short), hindering function.

So this represents a classic decision > buy cheap many times or buy well once.

There are a couple of alternatives, that I do recommend, after 2+ years of extended use, including in the salt..

Gear Keeper – 2.5oz MicroKeeper

  • + My extends to 34+”
  • + Low Cost > 12.99 USD at Bearsden, versus 9 to 13 USD for a poor Dr Slick or Orvis Zinger.
  • – The retention pin is thick and can be very difficult to pierce heavy fabrics. You can buy it with other methods to secure it.


Abel Zinger

  • + Also extends to 34″ (hmm .. construction of spring and rope is very similar to Gear Keeper).
  • – Expensive at 95 USD at Bearden.
  • ~ The retention pin appears to be finer than the gear keeper and easier to push through fabric.

abel zinger_DSC5447

Note, below the Abel is a Orvis Zinger, where the pin is exposed (barely visible) and the “reel” inside to hold my “multi-tool”. Note visible in the photograph posed (as I cropped it out), but it is rusting.

As previously state, I have no interest or opportunity to gain from this post. Product has been in use for more than a year, so it reflects me and my interests only.





Written by raspberryfisher

2019/04/15 at 21:03

Posted in Bahamas, Fly-Fishing, Saltwater, Tools

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Ikea Ivar Hack

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I order some short Ivar verticals and 3 shelves. I drilled and bolted 2 of the shelves and drilled 36 holes in support of my fly rod tubes, and wading staffs.

If you do this simple hack, I would recommend a 2 5/8″ hole for all of your rob tubes. I was concerned with too much “slop” so drilled holes from 2 1/8″ to 2 5/8″, but once I was done I found this concern not real.

Then the modified shelves are placed high and low to constrained the tube, as the tubes rest on the bottom shelf.

Ivar hack IMG_2267

In the center is a rounded rectangle cutout that holds PVC piping. These pipe hold rods I have built, but paid for a separate rod tube, as they get put into my 4pc travelling rod case as needed.


Written by raspberryfisher

2018/08/28 at 06:40

Posted in Fly-Fishing, Tools

my fly-tying room

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As we have become empty nesters, one bedroom has been converted into my art and fly-fishing room.


what is not seen is the third wood business desk that Judy got as a wedding gift.

The room faces to the north and general lighting is low, but as illustrated I have several tasks lights. Including ….

  • 50W Halogen – over the fly
  • Alvin CL1755  with two 2 fluorescent bulbs, over the drafting table. It provides good light, but the thread mounting that holds the Maxlite adapter has seized and prevents me to going to a LED bulb in the center. I fear the surgery to free the adapter could be destructive to the lamp.
  • Waldmann – current model is the SNLQ – high recommended for its magnifier and light.

And my primary chair is a Pearl drum throne.


The workstation is an Arlink, which I recommend. Without the drawers, associated with fabled roll-top desks, there is great freedom of movement and with the supplementary shelving I have great storage capacity.

I was fortunate in the fast mass migration of high-tech production to China in 2002, driven by timelines that had no consideration for disposal of operational assets, I was able to acquire MetroRack, Arlink Stations and Lighting at a ridiculous low rate.


catnip side_2207

Not going into the fly-tying tools, so the other key elements for my fly-tying room …


  • The closet (no picture) has Rubbermaid racking typically used in kitchen closet. It is  good flexible racking, but the cantilever arms can (do) limit some racking space. Gets a C+, so yes, I am happy with it, but I suspect there many be better.
  • General material storage in Rubbermaid (B), and avoid the cheap knock offs that has a much higher risk of breakage when used.
  • Artbin Thread Box (A), but I buy these in the US for <15 or versus Canadian retailers at over 40. Hey, I am happy to support Canadian, but not at this excessive pricing.
  • Umpqua Hook Box (B), but note these boxes do not stack well on top of each other with their copies from Spirit River (B-), so do not mix and match. Either works, but just stick with 1 OEM.
  • Darice 32 Container Jewelry Designer (A) Box for beads, eyes, cones, et cetera.
    • If I had this available when I was getting hook boxes, I would have selected them as my default hook box.  The Umpqua box has “cells” that are larger at 5.5cm than the Darice at 5.0cm, but this would not an issue, unless you are tying with a long streamer hook and even then, the gain is small. Example: Blue Heron Spey Hooks – Size 3 fits both boxes, Size 2 fits the Umpqua and Size 1 fits neither.
  • Plano 3600, for flies and miscellaneous.
  • Reels are keep in either a discontinued Vision Case (A) or Simms (C+).
    • The Simms is fine for smaller reels and gear associated with trout, but limited to ineffective when we deal with saltwater and spey.
    • In researching this blog, it appears that Vision has brought back the good Hard Case.


catnip tail IMG_2213



Written by raspberryfisher

2018/08/26 at 20:59

Posted in Fly-Tying, Tools

Between storms

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Quick BW rendering (Photoshop) with the Milvus 18mm

between storm DSC2949 BW


Written by raspberryfisher

2018/08/22 at 05:11

Posted in Photography


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In my last week photography segment, I noted I will often keep a hat, scarf and gloves in my camera bag. Thus, this week’s segue to gloves and mitts..


In winter, I resist adding a winter coat, but I am quick to put on gloves, scarf, hat, and insulated winter pants. I have found with fly fishing in winter I have become very selective on what gloves I wear in everyday use, as many gloves hinder movement and control.

Many gloves and mitts have a palm pad that restricted contact and movement, which I detest, so my selection is based on practical comfort in use.

So what are the five (5) gloves (and mitts) I rely upon when I leave the house? from the tropics to -40C weather. Starting from the left:

  1. Hand knitted woolen mitts with fleece liners, made by my Mother-In-Law. My warmest pair and my favourite.
  2. Hestra 35111 from Sweden over-mitts (size 8) that are used in a combination of the following two gloves. These mitts add an additional protection against water, wet snow and wind.
  3. Helstra 34130 Heavy Merino Wool Liner Glovers warm and yet, I can still operate the camera.
  4. Filson Woolen Fingerless provides the direct contact to allow me to sense the line and the drift of my fly. I have experiment with many gloves, mitts, and these are my gloves for fishing or when direct contact is important. As the knit is not tight, I do find the end fray and need maintenance. This variant is no longer available, and I cannot vouch for their replacement.

Not shown:

  1. TFO Mangrove fingerless sun gloves when we are fishing in the tropics  to protect my hands when I am out in the sun all day.

And scarfs?

As a child I hated scarfs, as they usually made me itchy! but I have since happily adopted old Merino Wool (vintage) scarfs and Cashmere.

My other advise on a scarf, make sure it is long – 120cm minimum.



Written by raspberryfisher

2018/08/11 at 22:35

my Camera bag

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In continuation of my previous blog, here is an update of my everyday Camera bag.

camera bag

First there is no reasonable solution for one bag that does it all, so I have split the contents into three to suit what I am intending to do.

  1. The Base Bag, discussed within this blog
  2. The Tripod Bag, touched upon in this blog
  3. The Filter Bag, to be covered in another post

And if this is of any value, I will add my ratings and any advise that might assist the reader.

The anchor for all decisions

Nikon D600 Camera outfit with

  • Crumpler Wrist Strap – A+
  • RRS L-Plate “Arca-Swiss Like Quick Mount – A
  • Two 32GB Cards, set to overflow – A
  • DK21 Rubber EyeCup – Replacement
  • Two Batteries and  Nikon Battery Charger MH-25

As previously note, I like the Nikon D600 and choose full-frame as I wanted quality optics that were wide. In today’s world, there in-camera enhancements I would have liked – a wide field for spot focus measurements and Bluetooth.

My default settings are ISO 100 -0.3EV in Auto-Aperture with JPEG fine.  I have re-assign the Fn Button to toggle RAW on-off.

I have yet to shoot too many images without clearing the memory that I needed more than 1 card, so the second card is a safety.

Always have two batteries with me, but the charger is likely to packed with other power  accessories.

The Crumpler Wrist provides (much appreciated) security and sometimes relief as I let the camera hang down. It is no longer made, and as I look at the many available wrist straps available, this model continues to be the best.

To fit the RRS Barcket, I remove the Nkon Sensor cover and added a thinfilm protective sheet.

Zeiss Lens

As noted in my last post, focus and depth of field control are very important to me, with consideration for filters, while auto-focus is not. So my goto lens are

  • Zeiss Milvus 18mm – A+
  • Zeiss Distagon 25mm – A+
  • Zeiss Milvux Macro 50mm – A+

And I have no plans to add more.

Please note, the lens hoods are engaged by default.

Cameras Filters

  • B&W Circular Polarizer – 67mm – A
  • Breakthrough ND 10 f-stop – 77mm with 67mm wide adapter – A
  • Breakthrough ND 10 f-stop – 77mm – A

Yes, I do have clear filters, specifically B+W Clear MRC. The polarizer is almost always on the 50mm2, unless low light mandates it to be off. As I am also shooting manual focus, I could have / should have gone with a linear polarizer.

Of course the ND (Neutral Density Filters require a tripod, and I typically keep the polarizer for use on the 50mm only.  If I am going to do a wide-screen polarizer, then I go to my filter bag and pull out the Lee-Filter 105mm polarizer.

I have found the B+W 67-77mm adapter has effectively seized to the filter, so rather than struggle in the field to change out, I have the duplicate.  Also note that at the time of purchasing the 67mm setup, BreakThrough did not offer a 67mm.

And lens cleaning clothes. I clean the sensor at home.

the Tripod

Use for night, macro (in possible), slow (waterfall) et cetera, so it is used when I know I want to do something extraordinary, versus when I am walking the around a city, et cetera.

  • FLM CPS 26 Carbon Travel Tripod, A rating, with :
    • FLM CB-48F Ball-Head – A
    • with a RRS B2-AS-II  using a 3/8″ to 1/4″; adapter secured with Loctite – A
    • with a Nikon wired release – A

My opinions ….

The tripod is small, light and easy to use. I have had previous issues (not with FLM) on screw lock legs, but find the FLM lock work great. The support from Canada with Ari is world class.

If there is an issue (which I have not discuss with Ari), one leg click does not always automatically engaged. Minor, but something I was for.

Given the large format re-use and the associated bed on my Toyo (not an issue with the Sinar), I prefer the RRS Clamp head. Nothing wrong with the clamps from FLM, but I really prefer the clamp.

As such, I have two ball-heads on my tripods and mono-pods, either FLM and RRS. I like the handle layout on the RRS a little better, but this tripod and my smaller Manfrotto have FLMs.  I will discuss the other tripod with my filter bag.

From film, I am use to wire cable releases, but a built in release that can work from any position would be a real upgrade. I have seen recently some releases with amazing stated functionality, but I dislike the aspect it relies on a smart phone to setup and operate.

I also have two monopods, which my be used when flexibility in movement is important, but I want-need to improve stability. The two are:

  • Original – Manfrott 434B
  • Benro MC-91EX with a RRS MonoPod Head.

I like to add, the monopods can also function as a staff, not just for walking, but also for personal security. The Benro was used by Caitlan in here solo travels in the Middle East.

Personal Items – pictured and not

Many are associated with my travels

  • Magnifier – 2,5x (old man eyes) as back-up to my prescription glasses.
  • Comb for hairy beast management
  • Pen – either a Green Uniball  or my White Montegrappa
  • A small notebook
  • Lens cleaning clothes
  • iPhone, Wallet, Passport and my airline ID tags-tockets
  • Ear plugs or NC Bose Phones – A (for fitting my ear)
  • Filson Fingerless gloves and Hat. Once the cool part of autumn arrives, I also often have a scarf on me or in the bag.

and last the bag

Neither bag I use get a rating better than C+!  I alternate between the Peak Design 15″ Messenger, as pictured above and ONA Messenger. In short the benefit and short-falls.

  • Capacity – all bag manufacturers over inflate their bag capacity
  • Dividers – ONA are okay and Peaks are horrible to setup & keep equipment inplace. For PD I use my old inserts from Crumpler (better bag, but too small).
  • Front Pocket for iPhone, Wallet and Passport – ONA okay but Peak fail (use laptop slot). Peak, just add 2″ in depth please.
  • Back Storage for laptop – ONA okay for small, Peak at best a iPad.
  • Rain Protection – ONA is fair and Peak is good
  • Front and Top Access – Ona is fair and Peak is very good
  • Top Strap Carry – ONA is poor and Peak is good

No winner and I keep my eyes for a better answer.


Written by raspberryfisher

2018/08/05 at 21:56

Zeiss Milvus and more

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There are several different formats of art I appreciate – watercolours, print and very much photography. Of the three, it is photography that is a continuous draw.

So yes, I have made the migration to digital, though trying to hang onto to Black+White on film, but this issue is time.

After many years using the Nikon D600 there are a couple of features on the higher end cameras that I would like – wifi interconnectivity and more focus points – that I had no anticipated when I bought the Nikon.

In this journey, I have settle on the Zeiss (prime) Lens as I want the precise manual focus control, but really like the transition from sharp to soft. And of recent, I completed my collection with the purchase of the Milvus.

So a sampling of my images of recent and some old, illustrating what I like to do with my “seeing”. In all cases, I have cropped and reduce the image to 700pixels, but otherwise no other photo-editing.

For those images not in my backyard, I have identify the location.

The Milvus 50mm Macro

From Yesterday, a tree frog on the sheets last night. Here, I keep the depth of field short to put emphasis on the eyes.

frog 1_DSC2976

frog 2_DSC2978

and earlier, showing a sharp image across the sensor, and ability to hold a strong edge.

DSC_7606 Hosta BW

and continuing with black and white and using what the camera and lens can do

BW DWW_0831

and from my initial experiments showing the blend from sharp to soft. The fancy term is describe this is bokeh.  You need to pick which you prefer.  Judy uses the third image as her background on here computer.

f4 c DSC_7075

f8 c DSC_7077

f22 c DSC_7080

and my background?

dragonfly DWW_9033

Zeiss Distagon 25mm

Then there is my 25mm Zeiss lens. In the world of  high end lens, this lens does not get a lot of love, but I picked for its strength of great wide close-in images, which I did in the following pictures.

bes DWW_4122

bes DWW_4134

taj walkin_7264

Of course, India


Hamburg, Germany

stockholm 7 DWW_1406

stockholm 8 DWW_1421

stockholm 4 DWW_1347

Gamla Stan, Stockholm

ireland 3 IMG_0431

South Coast, Ireland

And returning home, the Zeiss Distagon is not a slouch for landscape

bw DWW_0696

But when I look for grand landscapes, I look for wider, so my new acquisition

Zeiss Milvus 18mm

Between storms 3 days ago, which I have to transform to Black & White.

between storm DSC2949 BW

iPhone 6

and then there is the iPhone, which I also maintain is a good landscape camera

2 IMG_3123 1200

St Malo, France

ireland 1IMG_0418

South Coast (Copper Coast), Ireland



Written by raspberryfisher

2018/07/29 at 20:09